The Need for Water in the Ancient World

750 Words3 Pages
THE NEED FOR WATER IN ANCIENT SOCIETIES Water is life - there could be no life without water. The ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Rome, Egypt and China understood that water is not simply a valuable resource without which survival is impossible, but also an important prerequisite for further development. Water became an influential tool that shaped technological, economic, political, and legal spheres of the ancient societies, as well as a powerful weapon in the hands of their emperors and kings. To begin, the need for a steady supply of water greatly affected technological developments in the ancient world, both negatively and positively. For instance, ancient civilizations that solely depended on irrigation canals and ditches often suffered food shortages and famine when the river levels dropped, or when the water systems could not be properly maintained. In addition, irrigation canals filled with water often became breeding grounds for insects carrying diseases, such as mosquitoes. On the contrary, there were also positive effects from technological developments that resulted from the need of a steady water supply. Advancements in irrigation technology made it much easier for farmers to water their crops, and in ancient Rome, the massive aqueducts that were crafted brought water to thousands of Roman citizens, even to those who didn’t live directly next to a stream or river. Secondly, the need for steady water supplies had a great deal of impact on the economies of ancient civilizations. In many places, such Rome and China, thousands upon thousands of workers were needed to build the giant aqueducts and irrigation canals. Likewise, large numbers of workers were also required to maintain these structures once they were completed. These massive projects put people to work, as well as lowered the rate of unemployment, and history shows that economies
Open Document